This post was most recently updated on January 12th, 2019
Is This the Epson EcoTank Printer We’ve Been Waiting For?
For a long while, the best Epson EcoTank printer was a pretty low bar to hit. The series has had a few good models, but most of them have been overpriced gimmicks. Now, we finally have a legitimate Epson EcoTank photo printer.
The Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is an EcoTank printer specializing in stunning photo quality. With a fifth color slot for photo black, a denser black that the Epson Expression series is fond of, this printer is designed to make great photo prints at a low cost of ownership.
So, what we need to discern is the same as with all the other Epson EcoTank printer models. It the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 worth it? Is the total cost of ownership better than comparable models from other brands?
Lastly, because (Spoiler Alert) this is a pretty great printer, is this the best Epson EcoTank printer that’s been made so far?
Epson printers are usually built with some of the best scanners around, and the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is no exception. The letter-size scanning bed scans images at up to 9600 dpi. That’s higher than most fancy professional photography scanners. This means when you scan photos you will get the sharpest, accurate scans possible. That also means if you are scanning photos to reprint them, you’ll have a much lower loss of information.
Also, while the print resolution isn’t that high, the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 has a max print resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi. A high printing resolution and super high scanning resolution are key features when looking at an Epson EcoTank photo printer.
Many people think that photo black ink is a scam. I’m here to tell you they are not. Unlike light cyan or light magenta cartridges, photo black ink is instrumental in delivering a high-quality photo at a lower price point.
In normal CMYK printing, that’s using cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), a dense black area of an image is created by mixing some of each color with black to make an even darker black. Black alone will show up as slightly see-through, which means seeing the white of your paper in your photo.
To make sure the black parts of your photos look black, CMYK printers traditionally add color to the black to make it denser. This works fine, but it drains all your inks faster and raises your ink costs. A photo black cartridge is much more effective.
A photo black ink is a darker, richer black than your normal key black. This allows your printer to use your regular black for things like text documents or draft copies, and use your photo black for photos and graphics.
The Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is one of the first EcoTank printers to utilize the photo black. Because of this, the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is, in my opinion, the first true Epson EcoTank photo printer.
The Epson EcoTank Expression Premium ET-7700 includes many of the features that we’ve basically come to expect out of all inkjet printers these days. WIFI and USB printing, easy printing from mobile devices, and a color display are all included.
Also, this printer can print from an SD card or USB flash drive. This makes printing and scanning photos super easy, even if you don’t have a laptop or phone nearby.
The Epson EcoTank Expression Premium ET-7700 is the most compact Epson EcoTank photo printer to date. It stands just 6.3” tall and takes up a minimal footprint. This makes it the perfect size to sit in the corner of your desk, looking cute, until you need it.
Epson EcoTank printers have always had nice ink filling systems. Nice, not great.
While Epson still recommends you wear latex gloves and have paper towels nearby, I honestly don’t think it’s necessary with their new ink bottles. These ink bottles are auto-stop, so the flow of ink stops when the tank is full.
Also, each bottle will only fit into that specific color slot. A bottle of black will not flow into the tank for yellow. With previous models, if you made this mistake, you would most likely need to buy a new Epson EcoTank photo printer. This is a fantastic feature. Just make sure you buy genuine cartridges.
Alright, so Epson EcoTank printers tend to have a high price tag. However, we’ve seen with the Epson Workforce ET-4750 that they are proven to save you money over the lifetime of the printer. However, I think we need to compare the Epson EcoTank Expression Premium ET-7700 to another best-cost option. So, I want to compare it to the HP ENVY Photo 7855 with Instant Ink.
You can check out my full review on the HP ENVY Photo 7855 with instant ink here, but the short version is that it is a great photo printer. And instant ink can save you a ton of money. But which printer is the better value in the long run?
To figure that out, I’ve made a table. Now, for purposes of this evaluation, I’m considering each printer to be printing 300 pages per month. This is because the Epson EcoTank Expression Premium ET-7700 advertises two years of ink in the box, rated at 300 pages per month. Also, 300 pages per month happen to be the top tier of HP Instant Ink. Isn’t it nice when things work out?
So, let’s see who wins.
|Epson Expression Premium ET-7700||HP ENVY Photo 7855 with Instant Ink|
|MSRP as of 10/22/2018||$549.99||199.99|
|Monthly Ink Cost for the First Two Years||$0.00||9.99|
|Total Ink Cost for Two Years of Ownership||0.00||$239.76|
|Total Cost of Ownership for Two Years||$549.99||439.75|
|Monthly Ink Cost for years 3 and 4||$3.17||9.99|
|Total Cost of Ownership after 4 years||$625.98||$679.51|
This is the pain when comparing these types of savings models. The HP ENVY Photo 7855 is a better deal if both printers break after two years. This is significant because this is when extended warranties like Square Trade tend to run out. This is also where you should need to refill your tanks on the Epson EcoTank photo printer.
The Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is a better deal if your printers last four years. Your average printer breaks down after three years, so this is a bit of a gamble. However, that is four years of only refilling your ink once, as opposed to multiple times per month with the HP ENVY Photo 7855 with Instant Ink.
I’ve provided the information. I’ll let you decide the winner of that battle. In the very least, I’ll say the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is at least on par with one of my favorite photo printers. The Epson Expression Premium is making a strong case for the Best Epson EcoTank of all time.
So, what are the drawbacks?
This thing is slow. Almost all photo printers are slow, but that’s no excuse. The Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 prints 13 pages per minute of black and only 8 pages per minute of color. For something with the volume capabilities of this Epson EcoTank photo printer, this is crippling.
And the speed isn’t the only aspect holding back your output ability.
This is the deal breaker for most of my customers. 100 pages just aren’t enough for an EcoTank. This thing is supposed to be a workhorse, and you can’t crank out pages if you have to keep filling the tray.
The redemption here is the multiple trays. But, that doesn’t make up for the shallow document tray. This is a big oversight.
No Touch Screen
Yeah, it’s a nitpick. So what? These days, I expect a touchscreen input. HP has them on almost everything, there’s no reason Epson can’t as well.
So those are the cons. Now it’s time to decide; is the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 the best Epson EcoTank printer?
Heck yeah, it is! Yeah, there are some issues, but this is a bomb printer. Depending on how long you keep it, the Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 will almost certainly save you money over other photo printers. And, while HP’s Instant Ink still has an edge, this is a great option for anyone who doesn’t like the idea of an ink subscription.
The Epson Expression Premium ET-7700 is a great printer for anyone who prints photos on a frequent basis. It’s by far the best Epson EcoTank Photo Printer, and, in my opinion, it’s also the best Epson EcoTank printer ever made.